When I worked at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, the team I was with had the opportunity to be invited to prepare a dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. I couldn’t believe it!! The James Beard House is the Grammy’s of the Culinary Industry. This was a true honor for my Chef, Greg Vassos, and I was so blessed to be apart of this moment. Greg has a playful way of cooking-he interprets flavors from his childhood and Classical French dishes with modern gastronomy. I learned so much from him!! I am fortunate that I got to work with him.
The dinner was on October 1, 2010. Before we left for New York, we did what prep we could and shipped it up there. I had written out all my checklists and crossed things off, once they were completed, as I was responsible for two out of five dishes and a passed appetizer. I remember Greg got on the men on the team for not having checklists made like I had. (When he said that, I was smiling on the inside. I was the only women out of my team going to the Beard House.) We were going to finish up the rest of our prep at an area hotel and then transport everything to the James Beard House. Once we arrived in New York, we got our things, checked into the hotel, had lunch, and went over to the hotel to start on prep. The reason for this is that the size of the kitchen is very small, it’s an actual house, and there were dinners being held there almost every night. I honestly remember the first few days being a blur of prep and checklists.
Once we got to the Beard House, with all of our prep intact, it seemed like time was ticking faster and faster. When it came time for diners to arrive, we made sure the kitchen was spotless and that everything was in its place for each dish. From the first passed hord’oeuvre to the dessert being plated, we all worked together like music hitting each note properly. It was a night and weekend that I will always remember!